I believe that the study of mathematics is a skill and art; and that mathematics is full of beauty and patterns. I believe that most students can learn mathematics and many can master concepts and ideas. I believe that all students can learn to appreciate the beauty of mathematics.
I believe that best practices of teaching and learning involve collaboration and discussion, as well as active participation in the classroom. I believe in reflective teaching, building on my strengths and following through on plans to improve my teaching. I believe that students benefit from the same kind of self-analysis of their learning.
I believe as a teacher I must set the example for the classroom: dignity and respect for all, excitement with the subject matter and interest in exploring concepts. A script for the day to follow, so there is a goal, but time to wander by the wayside to explore new ideas or interesting errors is the best way to go forward in class.
I believe that we learn from mistakes, and that checking what we do is one way to find the mistakes so that we can learn.
I believe that adults learn differently from children. And as adults learn differently from each other, the classroom needs to reflect the diversity of learning styles.
I believe that much of the time students can learn better from each other than from long lectures. I believe that timely lectures on important ideas are necessary, but should not cover what the students already know, or can determine for themselves. This balance is not easily found, and is one of the great challenges of teaching and learning.
I believe that students should leave the class knowing more about mathematics than when they arrived. I also believe that students should leave the class with better skills at understanding how to be good students of mathematics, responsible for their own learning and prepared for the next level of mathematics, whether they attend it or not.
I believe that community colleges fill an important role in society. Education may have failed some students, who need to learn or re-learn, and the college can provide programs to assist in that. Community colleges also provide economical doorways to traditional four-year colleges, and should provide a solid core of mathematics a student may enter at any level, and move up with confidence to reach her/his goals.
I believe that not all students want or need to transfer to a 4-year college; community colleges provide gateways to meaningful employment via certificate programs as well as degrees.
I believe that all students are entitled to learn, that each should be assisted to learn what they can, to be productive members of society, or just to enrich their personal knowledge.